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Text and data mining

Copyright and TDM

Please get in touch with us before you download large amounts of data from a library subscribed resource, as you may trigger automatic misuse tools which could lead to our access being suspended. 

If you have been prevented from using a resource due to licensing or technical issue, or you have any other questions, please let us know as soon as you can.

Text and data mining relies on copying large quantities of digital content. It is therefore subject to copyright and needs either permission from the rightsholders or it should fall within the copyright legislation exception.

UK law provides a copyright exception for TDM under Section 29A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA), which was introduced in 2014. This means non-commercial TDM is an exception under UK copyright law, and it can be carried out without permission from the publisher as long as you already have right of access: 

An exception to copyright exists which allows researchers to make copies of any copyright material for the purpose of computational analysis if they already have the right to read the work (that is, they have “lawful access” to the work). This exception only permits the making of copies for the purpose of text and data mining for non-commercial research." (HM Government, 2014)

HM Government. (2014). Exceptions to copyright. Intellectual Property Office.

Please note that in June 2022, the UK government had indicated its intention to introduce a new copyright and database exception to the law, that would allow text and data mining for any purpose, provided that the party employing TDM first obtains lawful access to the material. However, in March 2023 the UK Minister for Science, Research and Innovation announced that the Government will not be proceeding with an extension to the UK’s text and data mining exception. This means that the only exception for TDM will remain its use for non-commercial purposes.

What this means for subscription databases:

As a member of Cranfield University you have legal access, restricted by licence agreements, to journals, databases and repositories held and subscribed to by Library Services or your academic department. Many of these explicitly permit TDM as long as:

  • The purpose must be non-commercial,
  • Information sources must be cited.

Library Services will liaise with database suppliers to allow TDM to subscribed content.

What this means for Open Access material:

TDM is usually permitted for Open Access (CC-BY) content.

Further information on copyright and TDM on external sites: